February 2021 Hope Has a Cold Nose

Dear Hope Has a Cold Nose readers,

“Dog Lessons for People – Be loyal and faithful. Play every day. Drink lots of water. Forgive quickly. Avoid biting when a growl will do. Sit close & listen. Follow your instincts. Give more than you receive. Take naps. Be a best friend. Love unconditionally.” – Author Unknown

If you have read the acknowledgments in the last pages of Hope Has a Cold Nose, then you were able to learn about how, on the journey of co-creating HHCN with twenty-three authors, I was led to many wonderful organizations who are each honoring the call to serve others in need – both human souls and those souls wrapped in fur.  The blessings of my path intersecting with extraordinary organizations has not stopped now that HHCN is published.  Most recently I was interviewed for a podcast by the Doggy Diva Show that will air Saturday, March 13th.   To learn more about what – I should say – who – inspired the creation of the Doggy Diva Show, please visit https://www.thedoggydiva.com.    I will simply say, never underestimate the smallest of beings to cast the biggest ripples of positive change.  Dear Sophia made her story matter when another dear soul heard her cry for help, and together they created a way to give purpose to a story that began in heartache and ended with great unconditional love. 

Recently I saw a visual post on social media that displayed a person holding up a plywood board to display a section of grass beneath it not buried by snow.  The picture further showed a chihuahua standing on the grass and the caption was related to an idea people could create something similar so that their dogs would not hate going outside for their restroom breaks in deep snow.   As I was preparing to scroll past this picture I saw one person’s comment that read I don’t think dogs have hate in their make-up…

I started thinking about Ginger and Kutana over these past couple of weeks as we, like so many others, experienced frigid temperatures, and continual falling snow.  Ginger likes her heat.  Completely covered under a blanket or basking in the warmth of the summer sunshine outside, or, as I am writing this, having her sister lay completely on top of her, is her ideas of heaven.  Well, maybe not the sister laying completely on top of her part, though her eyes closed and her soft snoring tells me she sees it as a gateway to happiness.  

Now Kutana, on the other hand, whose lean body should be the one to signal to her eager spirit um, nope, we don’t need to go outside and bounce into drifted snow head first, can’t wait for the temperature to reach an acceptable level to safely go outside.  Is it time?  Is it time now?  Mom, do you hear that?  Outside wants me to come run, hike, and play?  Outside wants me to dive head first into that snow drift RIGHT OVER THERE!  Can we now, please?!  PRETTY PLEASE!  Unlike her big sister Ginger who demonstrates an impeccable braking system at the doorway when her initial desire to go outside is met with the rush of cold air, Kutana seems to find a renewed energy to that burst of refreshing take your breath away air.

Kutana seems to run to her coat I hold in my hands.  Well, maybe run is a tad exaggeration, but she certainly does not resist.  There is no slight head hang that seems to communicate aww, shucks mom do I have to?   She does not communicate with her body that her pink fluffy coat makes her look silly or that she is too grown up for such frills.   It is her hall pass to outside, and outside matters far more than any risk her mom dresses her funny in front of the birds and squirrels. 

Ginger, on the other hand, is a very good communicator with her body that very clearly lets me know her orange coat makes her look less like the royalty she is certain that she is.  My dear Ginger is a girl after my own heart when it comes to a little bit of stubbornness, and there is no misunderstanding on my part in her decision to show me a little bit of her essence when I reach for that orange coat.  Now, granted, if she has had any preview to what awaits her outside, then in her mind, the orange coat I am holding is a hall pass, straight to the detention room.  And she has no problem deciding to become immovable weight on her ottoman when I am trying to adorn her in her orange attire. 

Yet, to the comment the individual stated on social media, Ginger has always read my heart to know that if I am insisting that she goes outside, it is for her own health and well-being.  She may not appreciate colder weather over her ideals of warmth, but in addition to her essence of a stubborn streak, her very core is unconditional love.  Her heart does not know hate.  Nor does Kutana’s. 

I was in recent dialogue with someone and our conversation turned to this sentiment.  If you start from a good place in your heart, then even if the conversation you need to have with someone else is a tough conversation to have, you will be honoring the reason your paths have intersected.  You will be the messenger the person needed for that individual to then make a choice in how they wish to respond, learn, and potentially grow.

By “good place in the heart”, I think of things like non-judgment, unconditional listening, compassion, empathy, generosity, gratitude, joy, and kindness.  I have this perspective.  We are souls in human form who are giving our lifetimes to grow in our experiences with these “good place in the heart” things.  We are also given the capacity to fear, to feel anxious, to be frustrated, to hurt, to know anger, to grieve, to know unimaginable loss.   We are given lessons in which we learn such tools as bravery, vulnerability, determination, perseverance, resilience.   And in every choice that we make through every experience we have, we choose to step closer towards conditional empathy or conditional kindness, or closer towards unconditional compassion or unconditional love. 

Where are you at in the steps on your journey?

I hope your path finds you closer to unconditional.

As recipient.

And as giver.

What if others could say of us, I don’t think that person has conditional in their make-up…

Together we are all on a journey called life. We are a little broken and a little shattered inside. Each one of us is aspiring to make it to the end. None is deprived of pain here and we have all suffered in our own ways. I think our journey is all about healing ourselves and healing each other in our own special ways. Let’s just help each other put all those pieces back together and make it to the end more beautifully. Let us help each other survive. ~ Ram Dass

I hold the intention that wellbeing keeps you in safekeep.

Sincerely,

-Christine

My gratitude to Connecting Vets for their support of the power of hope!

https://www.radio.com/connectingvets/news/veterans-share-stories-of-how-dogs-provide-hope-in-new-book

My gratitude to We Are the Mighty for their support of the power of hope!

My gratitude to Southern Living for their support of the power of hope! 

https://www.southernliving.com/news/hope-has-a-cold-nose-service-dogs-military-veterans-ptsd

For an engaging webinar facilitated by Dr. Alan Westfield, with sharing by Dr. Adrian Popa, Michael Ortiz, Taylor Rowell, and me, please click on the link below:  

Listening, Empathy, Awareness & Dignity: LEADership Through Storytelling & Companionship

https://www.gonzaga.edu/school-of-leadership-studies/news-events/leadership-through-storytelling-and-companionship

To purchase Hope Has a Cold Nose:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=christine+hassing&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hope-has-a-cold-nose-christine-hassing/1137781095?ean=9781982255282

Balboa Press:

https://www.balboapress.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/811622-hope-has-a-cold-nose

or you can contact me: https://christinehassing.com/contact/

For additional impactful and powerful information regarding the healing impact of service dogs, please visit https://www.northwestbattlebuddies.org/a-vision-of-hope/.    

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